'Dance of the Planets' to be discussed at Penn State Behrend

ERIE, Pa. — Ever wonder why Mercury and Venus are best seen just after sunset and just before sunrise? Why is it that other planets can only be observed during specific times of the year?

While all planets circle the sun, their movements often change drastically. These movement patterns will be the topic of discussion when Open House Night in Astronomy returns to Penn State Behrend on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Darren Williams, professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss the loops that planets perform and detail why some celestial objects brighten and dim as they move around the sun.

“Everyone knows that the planets in the solar system circle the sun, but understanding the complex movements of the planets in the night sky requires some astronomical figuring,” Williams said.

The presentation, “Dance of the Planets,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Roche Hall Atrium of Penn State Behrend’s School of Science Complex. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be followed by a 15-minute Q&A session hosted by Williams. Astronomical observing will also be offered if weather permits.

Free programs on the night sky will be held in the Yahn Planetarium before Williams’ talk, beginning at 6:15 and 6:45 p.m.

Open House Nights in Astronomy are an outreach program of the School of Science at Penn State Behrend. These nontechnical presentations are intended for ages 8 and up; for additional information, contact the school at 814-898-6105.

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Last Updated August 24, 2016